Life and Music
Music is as diverse as the people listening to its many different genres. My wife and I are just two of the millions of people around the world who listen to music almost everyday. However, my wife and I have a lot of differences when it comes to music although I can say that we share the same passion for it ever since when we were still at a young age.
For my part, learning music was at first an academic task because it was part of a class that I had to take during my earlier days in school. There was simply no chance for me to enjoy music as people should.
When I was ten years old, I bought my first AM transistor from my classmate. It was the first time in my life when I got the chance to enjoy the music of the Beatles and other bands playing country music at the time. That moment in my life opened the windows of my imagination inasmuch as it sparked a great deal of musical interest on my part. From then on, I simply just could not have enough of music and I was stuck with the pleasure of listening to tunes over the radio. My wife has a strong cultural influence coming from the Philippines because she, too, is a Filipino.
I recall my wife telling me that she always watched “An Evening with Pilita Corales” together with her parents when she was still young. Pilita Corales is considered as the Queen of “Kundiman”—traditional love songs written and sung in Filipino language—in the Philippines. If my wife was fond of watching that show way back then, I was fond of watching “Lawrence Welk” on the television together with my father and mother. Apparently, our differences in our earliest exposures to music hold one reason why my wife and I still have differences today in terms of music.
It is interesting to know that despite the fact that my wife lived in a country that is perhaps one of the most culturally rich countries in the world, she enjoyed spending time in the playground than doing folk dances which often involved materials that were indigenously available. Those dances, as she recounted, were always played to the rhythm of local music which, at that time in her life, never seemed important to her. She was too young in fact that she found it more fun to play in the school’s playground than to spend some of her idle time listening to local music and performing local dances.
I had the same experience when I was still as young as my wife during her childhood days. The only difference, perhaps, was that I was doubly busy or I had a tougher time at school for I did not only have to learn English but I also had to study music as part of the school curriculum. I had to catch up with my school work and so I barely had the time to realize the pleasure of listening to music and enjoying what it had to offer beyond sensory experience. Today, things have changed a lot—and for the better. Fortunately, my wife and I soon learned and appreciated music in our lives.
In fact, my wife and I began to watch musical plays like “Annie”, “The Lion King”, “Blue Man Group”, “Tarzan”, “Mama Mia” and “Miss Saigon” soon after we got married. Perhaps it was the moment in our lives when we realized that we shared one thing in common after all—the love for music. Each time we are able to watch a musical play, we always love the live performance due to the outpouring emotions that one can feel before a stage of actors and actresses giving justice to a number of different melodies and rhythms that can not be easily heard beyond every performance night.
Max Weber understood music as “a deeply meaningful part of a society’s culture” (Turley, 2001, p. 635), which is perhaps why sooner or later people will begin to realize the importance or the role of music in their lives, regardless of whether or not the music they are listening to is indigenous or foreign. That being the case, it is easy to see why people can relate music; music touches our inner soul and reaches for the depths of our being that we oftentimes find difficult to express, let alone reach.
For me, music helps us remember a lot of things simply because music holds memories. As I see it, music expresses feelings even if there are no words to it and it also raises our level of thinking about freedom. Howard Gardner even categorized our abilities to appreciate and even produce music as part of multiple human intelligences (Pfeifer & Scheier, 1999), which makes sense to say that it is crucial for human beings to have an ear for music. Doing so can broaden our mental horizons and enable us to appreciate life even more.
While my wife enjoys listening to the music of the Monkees, Carpenters, Beatles and Michael Jackson as much as I do, I still try to go beyond the sheer pleasure of listening to their music. I teach art and I try to incorporate music into my profession. As much as possible, I try to play music whenever I have my art class so that my students will be able to express their feelings more whenever they hold their brushes and begin painting images with beautiful colors. The way I see it, music is so strong it can evoke our inner feelings and give us the inspiration to make stunning artworks.
Because music can stir our emotions and our memories, music can push art students and artists to greater lengths. In general, music helps people unlock the rarely touched parts of their being (Grant, 2003, p. 173). I cannot imagine my life and my wife’s life without music as it has already been an integral part of who we are. Music helps my wife and I remember a lot of things about our past and our culture. It also helps us appreciate our lives and our marriage better each day without having the need to force ourselves to listen to music.